CLEVELAND (WJW) — If you stay in a hotel later this year, for the first time in a long time, expect a dramatically different experience then what you remember.
“Quite frankly, we have to re-invent hospitality,” says Danny Hughes, president of Hilton Hotels (Americas).
Depending on the hotel chain, you may be able to use your phone as your room key, and your room may be sealed with a strip of tape. When you break the seal, that lets you know that no one has been inside since your room since it was cleaned.
“Obviously, in this day and age, it’s more important then ever to get the consumer feeling confident,” Hughes says.
Confident that, in the age of the coronavirus pandemic, they are safe in a hotel.
“Guests may be surprised,” says Robert Hill, the general manager of the InterContinental Hotel in Cleveland, which is attached to the Cleveland Clinic.
Guests here will be screened for a fever before they check in.
And, Hill says, check-in is now “contact-less” with no pens, no paper, just slip your credit card into the reader, and receive your room key.
Gyms and restaurants will limit how many people are in them, but hotels are getting creative in developing alternatives.
“We don’t just say ‘no’,”, Hughes says, “we say ‘here’s a great alternative to the way things used to be.'”
So some room may have exercise equipment in them, more in-person yoga classes may be done on outside patios, and hotel chains may offer free exercise videos on room TVs.
And many hotels will have expanded food and drink options in their lobbies that can be taken to the rooms, since there are no mini-bars for safety reasons.
Likewise, room service will be delivered either by someone in protective gear or just dropped off in “to-go” boxes outside the door.
Hughes says the industry expects that vacation travel may start to come back soon. Hilton is seeing some strength already in “pockets” near attractions – including in Orlando and Myrtle Beach, followed by individual travel, and lastly, by convention business.
He adds that Hilton has donated a million room nights to front-line workers, including over 1,500 in the Cleveland area.
“It is a privilege and an honor to do it,” he says.